11th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

The parable of the mustard seed was a reply to the question: could the kingdom really grow from such humble beginnings?

It seems that what life intends to be great it first makes small.

Many great things and undertakings begin in small and often hidden ways.

For example, a building begins with one brick on another, a book begins with one word on a page, a song or symphony with the first note, a journey with a single step, a forest fire from a single spark, a giant oak from an acorn, a huge river from a tiny spring, a lifelong friendship from a chance encounter.

Things that have a certain integrity and truth always seem to start from humble beginnings.

Seeds need the darkness, isolation, and cover of the earth in order to germinate.

Therefore, for something to begin small, hidden, anonymous, is in fact an advantage.

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2nd Sunday Lent Year B

Today’s First Reading has one of the most dramatic scenes in the entire Bible.

Yahweh God instructs Abraham to slaughter his son, Isaac as an offering.

Whether the event actually happened I have no idea, and actually find the question irrelevant.

What I do find worth reflecting on is the mythos or sacred story behind what is written.

As Etty Hellisum said in beginning her diary, ‘Here goes then’. Early in 1971 I left my family home and entered the seminary to begin my studies and formation necessary to become an ordained priest in the Catholic Church.

Only in recent years have I reflected on the impact that must have had on my parents.

At the age of 17 I was more like Bilbo Baggins, from Lord of The Rings, taking my hat from the stand, closing the garden gate, and saying, ‘Well, that’s that,’ he said. ‘Now I’m off!’ Bilbo chose his favourite stick from the stand; then he whistled.

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4th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

I need admit that I do not usually pay a lot of attention to the Psalm which is offered as part of our Liturgy of the Word each Sunday; however, a line from this Sunday’s Psalm (Ps 95) caught my attention.

The line reads, “harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah, in the desert.”

From the recesses of my memory bank there awakened a saying attributed to St. Irenaeus.

Irenaeus was born during the first half of the 2nd century, somewhere between the years 120 and 140.

The prayer reads as follows:

It is not you that shapes God; it is God that shapes you.

If then you are the work of God await the hand of the artist who does all things in due season.

Offer him your heart, soft and tractable, and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you.

Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers.

3rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

There are pivotal moments in our lives that affect everything else that follows: educational and career choices, deciding whether to marry, or contemplating a move to another city or country.

Some people run head-long into a decision with little thought or consideration.

Others take a more thought-out and measured approach.

Whatever the approach we cannot avoid the consequences of such decisions, because even if we do not choose that, in itself, is a choice.

That too, will affect us.

The most important decision each of us faces is how we respond to God’s call.

We are all challenged to decide how important God will be in our lives.

How we respond affects everything else that we think and do.

God entered directly into the world through Jesus, and Jesus in turn enters directly into our lives.

Also, if we choose to allow Jesus into our lives, that will have an effect on those we live with and minister with and to.

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